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Coronavirus Updates

Aspen Public Radio will provide the latest news and updates regarding the coronavirus, COVID-19 in the valley and Colorado.

Courtesy of Tracy Doherty

When the pandemic took hold, Tracy Doherty kept going to work as a pediatric nurse at Valley View Hospital. Her line of work usually comes with some stability, so she was surprised when she was laid off earlier this month. 

 “Being a nurse you kind of never expect to lose your job,” Doherty said. “I knew they were going to be cutting staff, but I didn't think it would be nursing staff.”

The Colorado Capitol looked and sounded very different on Tuesday as state lawmakers returned for the first time in more than two months.

From difficulties hearing caused by legislators trying to talk through face masks to new plexiglass barriers placed between every desk in the House of Representatives, the legislature is adapting to new safety measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Researchers in Utah are in the process of testing about 10,000 people for COVID-19 and antibodies against the virus that causes it.

“People have talked about how we see the tip of the iceberg with the formalized testing that we have,” said Dr. Stephen Alder, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah and one of the project’s leaders. “We're trying to look at, ‘All right, how much of the iceberg is underwater?’ This is a good way to do that.”

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County Reopening Plan Includes Industry-Specific Dates

Thursday, May 28 - Phase two of Pitkin County’s reopening plan includes a step-by-step schedule with reopening dates for different industries. County officials say reopenings come with strict regulations and health guidelines. The planned dates could change if the county sees indications that the presence of COVID-19 is increasing. 

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

If you want a hearty breakfast in the small town of Thompson Falls, Montana, Minnie's Montana Cafe has you covered.

 


Nursing home residents and workers account for about one-third of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S., as The New York Times reported last week. Testing every resident and worker could help slow the spread in nursing homes – but it's expensive.

Tammy Terwelp / Aspen Public Radio

State Officials Encourage Residents To Celebrate Memorial Day With Safety In Mind

Friday, May 22 - Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, public health officials are asking Coloradans to keep the following in mind to slow and limit transmission of COVID-19. 

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy

Pitkin County Emergency Manager Valerie MacDonald has been fully immersed in the area’s response to COVID-19 for two months, but recent warm, dry and windy days have also caught her attention. 

“We’re entering the, historically, most hazardous time of the year, with wildfires, flooding and debris flows,” she said. “We have to be prepared for that as well.” 

via City of Aspen

The City of Aspen is asking for input on a plan that would allow local businesses to operate on sidewalks and streets in the downtown core. In a press release, the city said doing so would “increase physical space to facilitate social interaction, community connection and commercial activity while adhering to Pitkin County Health Order gathering guidelines.”

Dana Berro / Courtesy Photo

Honks, sirens and cheers filled the streets of Aspen Friday afternoon as Aspen School District teachers drove through town to wave to students and their families. Educators decorated their cars with posters and cheered as they passed students lining sidewalks. 


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

It's Cinco de Mayo in Sandpoint, Idaho, and a downtown pub is giving away free meals to families in need. Not many people are out. A few are wearing masks. Outside the pub, a teenager is playing the Beatles' song "Yesterday" on his violin.

This story is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

For the past 140 years, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes have both called the Wind River Valley home.

They didn't choose to share this reservation - and it's no secret that the two tribal governments don't always agree. But since the start of the pandemic, they've been on the same page about one thing.

via Pitkin County Public Health

Pitkin County health officials said they are on track to move to phase two of a reopening plan as early as May 27. The county needs to see certain patterns in health data to enter that phase. In Thursday’s board of health meeting, county officials and Aspen Valley Hospital staff said they have not seen a new COVID-19 case since early April, neighboring counties are posting low case numbers and the staff at the hospital is almost entirely healthy.

via Pixabay

Kurt Dahl’s job as Pitkin County’s environmental health manager sometimes feels like detective work.

“You're trying to identify who could have gotten something from where,” he said. “And that really gets into that case investigation and that detective type of work.”

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen Skiing Company is giving credit to 2019-2020 passholders after this winter’s season was cut short due to COVID-19. Passholders can receive up to $250 in credit for a non-chamber premier pass, but credit value is tiered for different passes, according to a release.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Get Glenwood Going Grant (G4) Applications Available 

Friday, May 15 – The City of Glenwood Springs, Downtown Development Authority and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Foundation are announcing the Get Glenwood Going Grant for business relief. The G4 program was created to provide rent, utility or mortgage interest relief for businesses. Businesses within the city limits of Glenwood Springs can qualify for up to $4,000. 

via Pitkin County

Pitkin County’s next public health order goes into effect on May 9 as part of a three-phase plan to return to normal life. Thursday, the county board of health said it could move to the second phase as early as May 27, if certain criteria are met.

Valley Settlement

More than $770,000 has been given to immigrant families in the Roaring Fork Valley by area nonprofits during the current coronavirus pandemic. Since most families Valley Settlement and MANAUS work with are undocumented, many are ineligible for emergency financial assistance during this time. 

Communities across the globe are trying to understand what percent of their population has been exposed to COVID-19 by searching random samples of residents for antibodies against the virus. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County’s plan to gradually return to normal life relies in part on adequate testing for COVID-19, which will be carried out by Aspen Valley Hospital. The hospital is cooperating with the county and using nasal swab tests to identify new cases of the virus. 

Pitkin County

The Pitkin County Board of Public Health voted Tuesday to ease some of the current stay-at-home rules as part of the county's Roadmap to Reopening. The plan has been developed with input from the Medical Advisory Team of Aspen Valley Hospital. On Saturday, May 9, Pitkin County residents can expect to see some of the stay-at-home restrictions dialed back as the county begins to fall in line with the state's Safer-at-Home policies.

Sue Sharpe

Colorado is slowly lifting restrictions on retailers, salons and other businesses. It's part of the state's transition from Stay-at-Home to Safer-at-Home, a move that Governor Jared Polis said is meant to help the state enter a more sustainable, long-term phase of social distancing during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Chris Descheemaeker ranches black angus, red angus cross with her family outside of Lewistown, Montana. The coronavirus pandemic, she says, comes after a few tough winters and an already tough market.


Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Glenwood Springs Opens Tennis and Pickleball Courts, Skate and Whitewater Parks

The City of Glenwood Springs has opened public tennis and pickleball courts, the skate park and the whitewater park under Safer-at-Home guidelines. The city said those facilities will be closed if people do not adhere to specific regulations, which can be found here.

This week the governors of Colorado and Nevada joined West Coast states in something called the Western States Pact. Its stated aim is to bring together states with a “shared vision for modifying stay at home orders and fighting COVID-19.” 

The U.S. now has at least three such regional collaborations. 

via Pitkin County Public Health

Pitkin County health officials laid out the specifics of the next public health order and the county’s contact tracing operation in an emergency public health meeting on Thursday. The next public health order will closely align with the state’s latest policies, but include a few specific exceptions.


This story is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

It's a sunny, spring afternoon and Holly Spriggs and her teenage son, Sawyer Michaud, are digging around in her giant garden outside of Lander, Wyo.

"We're working on planting some potatoes and onions before we get some moisture here," she says. 

Spriggs is having a great time, but Sawyer would rather be snowmobiling.

Connect For Health Colorado

 

Due to COVID-19, Colorado has extended the emergency enrollment period for health insurance until the end of month. Thursday is the last day for residents who are currently uninsured to enroll in health insurance. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The first rollbacks to restrictive statewide orders go into effect on Monday, April 27. Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced a transition to a new “Safer-at-Home” policy. The measures include a gradual return normal life, with a timeline for retailers and other businesses to reopen with specific precautions in place. Some rules will differ by county as local governments set their own pace for a return to normal life.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Operations are more or less normal at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff are wearing extra protective equipment, but they are not overwhelmed. David Brooks, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said the fact that things are relatively calm is a direct result of people staying home. 

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